Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Roman "Art of Victory" by Publius Flavius Vegetius

via The Art Of Manliness
Sometime in the late 4th or early 5th century, as the late Roman Empire stumbled along in the twilight of its power, an author of whom almost nothing is known compiled a book on the art of war to present to the emperor.
Rome’s economy was soft, its politics corrupt, but what most concerned the author was the creeping disintegration of the one institution that at least kept those other two extant: the military.
Like the rest of Roman society, its once mighty fighting force had fallen victim to decadence. Whereas the army of the early empire had consisted of highly disciplined, well-trained Roman regulars, the standards of the legendary legionaries had fallen, as had their numbers; a much smaller standing army was now supplemented with auxiliary units composed of barbarian mercenaries.
Epitoma Rei Militaris (Epitome of Military Science) by Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (known simply as Vegetius) was an attempt to get the emperor to remedy the military’s weaknesses before it was too late. “Epitome” here refers to a summary, as Vegetius’ work was not an entirely original composition, but rather a collection of “commentaries on the art of war abridged from authors of the highest repute.” The Epitome of Military Science collects the wisdom of Rome’s early military commanders on organization, equipment, arms, leadership, logistics, and more. The book contains both practical advice on how to recruit, train, and harden troops of excellence and courage, as well as pithy maxims on tactics and strategy. Vegetius said the work could be called a “Rule-Book of Battle” or the “Art of Victory.”
And then this.
 “For there is nothing stabler nor more fortunate or admirable than a State which has copious supplies of soldiers who are trained. For it is not fine raiment or stores of gold, silver and gems that bend out enemies to respect or support us; they are kept down solely by fear of our arms.”
“He who wants victory, let him train soldiers diligently. He who wishes a successful outcome, let him fight with strategy, not at random. No one dares challenge or harm one who he realizes will win if he fights.”
Gents, this one is a must read...there are no new issues, and we can look to history for solutions.  Check it out here. 

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